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ERIC Number: EJ937108
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1465
The Construction of Fear: Americans' Preferences for Social Distance from Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Problems
Martin, Jack K.; Pescosolido, Bernice A.; Olafsdottir, Sigrun; McLeod, Jane D.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, v48 n1 p50-67 Mar 2007
Debates about children's mental health problems have raised questions about the reliability and validity of diagnosis and treatment. However, little research has focused on social reactions to children with mental health problems. This gap in research raises questions about competing theories of stigma, as well as specific factors shaping prejudice and discrimination toward those children. Here, we organize a general model of stigma that synthesizes previous research. We apply a reduced version of this model to data from a nationally representative sample responding to vignettes depicting several stigmatizing scenarios, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, asthma, or "normal troubles." Results from the National Stigma Study-Children suggest a gradient of rejection from highest to lowest, as follows: ADHD, depression, "normal troubles," and physical illness. Stigmatizing reactions are highest toward adolescents. Importantly, respondents who label the vignette child's situation as a mental illness compared to those who label the problem as a physical illness or a "normal" situation report greater preferences for social distance, a pattern that appears to result from perceptions that the child is dangerous. (Contains 1 figure, 3 tables, and 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States